The San Gabriel City Council has appointed itself judge and jury for its election results and is for the last few days has been hearing testimony and swearing-in witnesses as they decide the fate of a Councilman-elect. Questions had been raised about the residency of Chin Ho Liao, who was the second-highest vote getter in an election.
The previous council – which included two incumbents ousted in the election that elevated Liao to become just the third Chinese city councilmember since the City was incorporated in 1913 – voted to not seat Liao until questions of his residency could be settled. Both of the ousted councilmembers cast their last votes on the Council to not seat Liao.
Now, the City – which admits it has a vested interest in the outcome of the “trail” – has taken the lead for deciding Liao’s fate. Critics of the plan question the self-policing, instead of turning the issues over to an independent body or office, such as the District Attorney or investigator. After the City Clerk surrendered her chair and swore in witnesses (who sat in her seat), the Council heard testimony ranging from neighbors who swore to see Liao’s car to hearing noises coming from an apartment that he has rented in the City. His opponents claim that he doesn’t live there, he simply keeps the apartment to circumvent the residency requirements.
Liao and his ex-wife also testified that the dual-residences are a result of marital problems and a failure to communicate.
A decision is expected to be rendered on May 6, with closing arguments coming Saturday.
Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.